Tag Archives: travel

Pilots are poor

Pax Arcana

kid_planeIt’s been a while since we checked in with Patrick Smith, author of the terrific “Ask a Pilot” column for Salon. And with all the crashing and whatnot in the Hudson and Buffalo, it’s a good time to revisit some things.

First, according to Smith’s latest, we all have to calm down with the Sully business. It’s not that Chesley Sullenberger’s actions weren’t admirable, courageous, or competent — but let’s all pull our fingers off the HERO button for just a cool minute. Why? Because luck played a huge role in Sully’s success:

Had the bird strike occurred under darkness or in fog, over a section of the city beyond gliding range to the Hudson, the result almost certainly would have been a catastrophe, and no amount of talent or experience would have prevented it. Indeed the annals of aviation are rich with examples of pilots who answered the call of duty with as much or more bravery and skill as Sullenberger and Skiles. Through no fault of their own, they didn’t survive to make the talk-show rounds.

The good news, Smith says, is that Sully knows this better than anybody — and brings it up on every possible occasion. The bad news is that men like Sully are a dying breed. Because of the airline industry’s woes, pilot salaries have dropped so low that you might be better off working at Jiffy Lube.

Seriously. Check it out:

It will surprise most people to learn that starting pay for a pilot at a major is somewhere around $30,000 annually.

That’s after the arduous, less-than-lucrative path the typical new hire has followed to get there. Historically, upward of 80 percent of major carrier new hires were recruited from the military. That number has fallen to around 50 percent in recent years. Civilian-trained pilots must first earn their various Federal Aviation Administration license and ratings, a piecemeal process that often takes years and can cost $100,000 or more. Next comes a stint as an instructor or light-plane charter pilot, followed by several years at one or more regional carriers — those Connection and Express and Airlink affiliates — where opening salaries are between $14,000 and $20,000 per year. There are no missing digits in those figures; a first officer at the controls of a $25 million regional jet brings home roughly what he’d make working at the mall.

Jesus effing Christ on a hockey stick. If I knew my regional jet pilots made less than me I would have bailed out over Yakima.

Will the airlines’ current financial troubles affect safety? [Salon]

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Pax Parisiens

Pax Arcana


Please to look out for falling crepes

I don’t have much time before I have to chase down some Berliner Weiss with a Currywurst at the Biergarten. We left Paris and flew to Berlin this morning (via Dusseldorf).

After the jump — Jackpot!!

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You are where you eat

Pax Arcana

Here’s a quickie for your Tuesday morning.

Travelocity says 75% of Americans consider food an important consideration when selecting travel destinations.

That means one quarter of us travel for all the wrong reasons.

The New Trend in Travel Reviews: Increase in Food and Restaurant Reviews [BusinessWire]

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Worst. Lede. Ever.

From the New York Times Travel section’s 36 Hours in Breckenridge:

WHEN carving down Breckenridge, which was one of the first major resorts to embrace snowboarders, it still helps to pack a phrase book for common sayings like, “Sick pow, bro!”

I lived in that part of Colorado for a few years, and can attest to the existence of cryptic phrases among the locals.

I can also tell you that saying, “Sick pow, bro!” in anything more audible than a whisper will only give you away as a stooge from the east coast, trying wayyy too hard to fit in.

Cowabunga dudes!!!

Here’s a freebie for the author of this lede:

Gaper n 1: A person who visits winter sports mountains from another location and makes an ass out of himself on the hill, and probably in town, too. [Derivation: From the gaping-mouthed looks non-locals get on their faces at the top of a ski run that is rocky, gladed, or otherwise intimidating to people who really don’t belong there.]


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Anthony Bourdain wants to sell out

Anthony Bourdain, the acid-tongued chef, traveler and hero of Pax Arcana, is on a roll this week.

anthony_bourdain_smoking.jpgFirst he weighed in on the Food Network’s asinine decision to re-run old episodes of his defunct show on that network, A Cook’s Tour, while promoting the show as if there were new episodes on the way:

Finally, back in New York, I opened the New York Times – and reading closely between the lines, got to the heart of the matter:

“All good things come to an end and it was time to do something new'” network pres, Brooke Johnson is quoted as saying – describing the net’s inexplicable decision to piss on their biggest star and founding father, Emeril Lagasse by cancelling “Emeril Live”. ” RIGHT NOW, WE’RE FIGURING OUT WHAT THAT SOMETHING NEW IS,” (emphasis mine).

I gotta tell you, by the way; if I were a Scripps stockholder, I wouldn’t want to hear my network press talking any shit about “figuring stuff out” I’d want to hear “We KNOW what we’re doing.” “Floundering around trying a buncha different shit – kind of a scattershot approach. Throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks kindofathing” doesn’t sound like a business plan I want to invest in.  But maybe that’s just me.

His opinion on the matter is not terribly surprising. Bourdain’s been a reliable source for Food Network-bashing quotes for years.

But in an interview with the Onion AV Club posted yesterday, Bourdain seemed to change course, openly wishing he could find the strength to sell out completely:

Why should I feel outraged or surprised that someone with millions and millions of dollars already would want to do something that I see as silly and degrading, like endorse Dunkin’ Donuts? It’s for the money! Of course it’s for the money! Why can’t I get that through my head, and why am I having such a problem doing that myself? I was sitting backstage a while back with two chefs whom I really admire—really accomplished chefs who are far more talented than I ever was in the kitchen—and they’re talking about how Olive Garden is offering this, and this airline is offering that, and not even blinking. And I asked them “Come on, wouldn’t you feel embarrassed if you woke up in the morning and looked in the mirror and saw the chef who endorses Olive Garden?” They looked at me like I was an idiot. And I’m beginning to think that it’s just vanity that’s kept me from selling out, and doing Imodium commercials or something. [Laughs.] I really don’t know why I’ve avoided it. I’m beginning to think it’s for less noble reasons than I have been telling myself.

AVC: Presumably you’ve been offered endorsements.

AB: Yeah, I’ve been offered cookware lines, some really gruesome reality shows that would have made me boatloads of money. The usual endorsements. I don’t know. Maybe it goes back to the heroin thing. I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning and feel ashamed of what you did yesterday. I’m just having a hard time crossing that line. I’d like to sell out. I really would!

We’re not pushing you one way or another, AB, but whatever you’re selling, we’re buying.

Anthony Bourdain [Onion AV Club]

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Who the F is Danny Gans?

The view from Pax Arcana’s ludicrously oversized suite at the Rio includes the Palms Hotel, a whole buttload of casino construction projects, and one giant billboard featuring a toothy buttplug named Danny Gans.

Who the F is Danny Gans?

We looked it up, using the World Wide Webs, and discovered that Danny Gans bills himself as an impressionist/comedian/singer of badly overwrought religious soft rock.

Who’s got a thumb, a billboard, and a face that’s bound to get Paxed in the fucking grill? This guy

And he calls himself the Las Vegas “Entertainer of the Year.” Which year is unspecified, but Pax Arcana believes it to be 2029, when the dead finally triumph over the living and Danny Gans is the last man on earth.

We would direct you to his Web site, where his special brand of hopelessly outdated “comedy” and bad impressions made us want to staple our feet to our faces, but it’s just too dangerous. We’ve lost too many men already.

Time to check in with the rest of the blog cartel.

Looks like Lucy the Blog is back on board after a month of moping around the Lowell penthouse for a few months. Rumor has it his right hand threatened to unionize if he didn’t cool it with the Cinemax, so Lucy came back with an uproariously self-pitying post about how Red Sox fans are retards. As if they didn’t know.

Perk is a Beast is back to his teasing ways, titillating our tits with the promise of another blockbuster “get” with some guy who plays on the Celtics who may or may not bear the mark of the beast.

We’re still stuck in convention hell with very little Internet access. We’re no fun right now, anyway.


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